Why do tattoos fade, but do not completely erase from the skin

(ORDO NEWS) — Because of what tattoo ink is so firmly held on the skin – after all, its cells are updated very often. The answer is very simple: the pigment from dying cells is absorbed by their neighbors.

As you know, among all organs of the human body, the skin is subjected to the greatest load from the external environment, and therefore its cells are updated quite often.

At the same time, when a person applies a tattoo to himself, it is not erased in a week – it only fades, but this takes many years. At first glance, this is completely impossible, but our body has a very unusual structure: when dying, skin cells release accumulated pigment into the intercellular space, which is then captured by new cells.

Immune cells in the skin, called macrophages, took over the pigment as they were supposed to. However, if these cells are pointwise destroyed, the appearance of the tattoo will not change in any way: after the death of the cell, the tattoo ink fell deep into the layers of the skin, after which they were drawn into the neighboring cells.

If you transplant a piece of skin with a tattoo from one mouse to another, then after six weeks the skin cells of the new host will absorb the applied pigment. This longevity explains why archaeologists sometimes find tattoos even on the skin of ancient mummies .

But why do macrophages absorb ink into themselves? This is a normal immune response. Defender cells are attracted to the wound caused by the needle of the tattoo machine and absorb the ink, as it is a foreign pathogen.

Having isolated it in itself, the phage thus protects the internal environment of the organism from the potentially harmful effects of the stimulus.


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